Friday afternoon fraud—law firms
Produced in partnership with Lockton Companies insurance brokers
Friday afternoon fraud—law firms

The following Practice Compliance practice note produced in partnership with Lockton Companies insurance brokers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Friday afternoon fraud—law firms
  • Standard attack characteristics
  • Insurance considerations
  • Protecting your firm
  • Financial controls
  • Training
  • Advising clients
  • Other protections
  • The changing nature of the frauds

Friday afternoon fraud—law firms

This Practice Note describes Friday afternoon fraud, which causes chaos and leaves a trail of financial and reputational destruction in the legal sector, discusses the insurance cover consequences, and suggests how firms can protect against it.

Friday afternoon fraud, as the name suggests, regularly takes place on Friday afternoons—the traditional time-period for completion of property conveyancing transactions—when vulnerabilities due to pressures on time and resources are high. It accounts for the majority (75%) of cybercrimes reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The crime has the added tactical advantage of being just before the weekend, decreasing the possibility of detection as businesses close for the weekend.

Conveyancing scams are widespread due to the significant amount of money passing between law firms and clients. Further, conveyancing clients are a key target due to the volume of information they receive from their lender, estate agent, mortgage broker and solicitor.

The criminal relies on the likelihood that the client will be an easier target, less attuned to the risks than the law firm and possibly likely to miss something among the sheer volume of information.

Standard attack characteristics

A standard attack involves a criminal hacking into a computer system. A hack will be by virtue of unauthorised access to a computer system, perhaps via a weak password, keylogging or phishing. Once access has been obtained (by whatever means) the

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